Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Limited government reach and interaction with communities is among the drivers of instability in most unstable areas of Afghanistan. Bordering the insecure Chemtal and Charbolak districts in Balkh Province, the local government in Dehdadi District has had limited interaction with the community, leaving it susceptible to insurgent influence.

A group of 14 Kabul University geosciences students, including three women, had completed the basic geographic information system (GIS) training provided by USAID. GIS is computer technology that takes different types of geographical data and combines it into useful information, typically in the form of a map, like a road map. The students recognized that basic GIS understanding was just the tip of the iceberg and presented their need for additional GIS training to the USAID training program manager.

The turmoil of the past 30 years has taken its toll on Afghanistan. Due to the destructive forces of war, nature, and neglect, sidewalks in Afghan cities are falling apart. In Kandahar, the municipality lacked the resources to address infrastructure development. But without rehabilitation, the city’s residents would continue to see their safety compromised. The degradation of pedestrian footpaths directly impacts the quality of life and traffic safety.

For nearly a decade, the remote Chahar Chineh District of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province was cut off from regional population and commercial centers. The isolation devastated the local economy, prohibited local businesses from accessing regional supply centers, and restricted employment opportunities. The impact on the district’s agriculture-dependent Chutu Valley was especially severe, depriving farmers of access to regional markets where they could sell and trade products cultivated in Chutu’s rich, fertile soil. The isolation also created an ideal safe haven for insurgents who preyed on the local population.

Pirya Kanwal is a trained Lady Health Visitor (LHV). She works as a social mobilizer for the USAID’s Community Rehabilitation Infrastructure Support Program (CRISP). She has worked as LHV in Sukkur district, Sind province and later served poor and needy with a variety of other organizations. When advertised for the position of a social mobilizer, Pirya took it as an opportunity to work on the helping women and children in need for medical care. 

Seya Dara Sufla is a remote village in Yakawlang District of Bamiyan Province. It is located approximately 35 km from the district center and 135 km from the provincial capital.

Due to the harsh weather and poor condition of many roads and the vehicles that traverse them, repairs to vehicles is a big business in Afghanistan. Vehicle workshops generally rely on imported auto parts from Pakistan, South Korea, and other Asian countries. However, their supply is irregular, parts are expensive, and there is no guarantee of quality.

USAID designed the Agricultural Development Fund to work through commercial banks and other financial institutions, providing them with lending capital and compensating them for the risks inherent to agricultural lending. Nonetheless, banks were in general unwilling to provide financial services to the agriculture sector. This issue had the potential to render a USAID project unable to reach the farming community and promote the growth of Afghan agriculture.

Ask anyone who lives in Daman District and they will tell you exactly what they think of the roads. While most of what they say is unprintable, it is easy to see that road conditions are deplorable. During the dry season, roads are bumpy, dusty, and full of potholes. Although trucks are the preferred method of transport, farmers are sometimes forced to rely on pack animals to move their produce to the market.

Pages

Last updated: January 12, 2015